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Patrick Murphy

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Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future

In many cultures eating insects is more than a delicacy – it’s a food staple. However, the use of bugs as a mainstream ingredient is a foreign idea in the developed world. As the human population continues to grow, we have to think about how to feed people. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has shown interest in using insects as an alternative food source. Due to their high concentration of the eight essential amino acids, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, amazingly efficient converters that leave a much smaller environmental impact on the planet than cattle.

Once technologies are developed to produce insect-based food ingredients they can be incorporated into numerous food products. They would make great protein substitutes as any food additives to cereal, snack bars, or traditional meals. The high nutritional value, probiotic potential, and affordable price are just a few reasons why many Asian and Latin restaurants already offer insects on their menu.

Rethinking the urban farm and how to deal with the upcoming need to increase food supplies, Claire Lemarchand is planning a series of cricket farms to be placed throughout cities, that go beyond just growing bugs. Crickets are bred in cylindrical units surrounding a light source, to optimize yield, and are fed fresh food waste from the market and surrounding restaurants. While at night, the cricket farming units double as an urban lighting system.

Is urban bug farming a valid food source strategy? What other ideas could be implemented into our food supply networks? Or, could push the boundaries of urban farming and sustainable food sources to better prepare for future food demands?

Why Insects Should Be in Your Diet By Aaron T. Dossey
(http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34172/title/Why-Insects-Should-Be-in-Your-Diet/)

The Cricket Bigger Than Beef By Claire Lemarchand
(http://www.yankodesign.com/2012/02/27/superbugs-bugs-with-powers/)

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  • Jun 5 2013: This is an excellent idea and it would be great to incorporate it in the U.S. As said in class, I think the biggest challenge to this idea is the fact that people would be eating bugs and we have this idea that bugs are gross and dirty. I think starting with education in schools will help get children to take an interest. Also, if doctors or other people of a higher education level speak about the importance of this and how it will benefit all of us, would help greatly in changing people's perspectives on bug eating.
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      Jun 5 2013: I agree that it is going to take the society coming together on this idea to make eating bugs as a source of protein in the US. I like your idea of people of a higher education speaking about it.
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      Jun 5 2013: One more thing that I want to add, amphibians are decreasing at a pretty high rate and they are a huge pest control. If many amphibians become extinct, and insect numbers get out of control, eating bugs would be a great way to keep bugs at a reasonable level.

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